5 Common Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

May 7th 2016

Thyroid cancer is often treatable by removing the entire thyroid gland or a portion of the affected tissue. Understanding the symptoms of thyroid cancer and consulting with a physician regarding potential risk factors can help to ensure the cancer is caught and treated early, allowing for a good chance at recovery.

Neck Swelling

The most common symptom of thyroid cancer is a swelling or lump in the neck area surrounding the throat. This symptom is often what prompts individuals to seek medical attention. The swelling or lump may also make it difficult to swallow.

Neck and Ear Pain

As thyroid cancer progresses, sufferers may experience severe neck pain that may also be felt in the ears. While neck and ear pain can also be caused by less severe conditions such as ear infections, it's always important for individuals to consult with a medical professional if their symptoms are unusual or persistent.

Vocal Hoarseness

Vocal hoarseness is another common symptom of thyroid cancer that often occurs in its later stages. Vocal hoarseness caused by thyroid cancer isn't associated with colds or flu, and it doesn't cause respiratory symptoms. Individuals with hoarseness due to thyroid cancer may also experience unusual vocal changes.

Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Neck

Swollen lymph nodes in the neck often occur when the body is responding to an illness or infection, so it can be difficult to determine the underlying cause when obvious symptoms aren't present. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck can also indicate thyroid cancer, especially if the glands aren't tender to the touch. Individuals with persistent swollen lymph nodes should always consult with a physician to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Breathing Difficulties and Wheezing

When thyroid tumors grow large enough to press against the trachea, breathing difficulties and wheezing can occur. These symptoms are also associated with a host of conditions ranging from allergies to severe respiratory illnesses, so it's always important for individuals experiencing any type of breathing difficulties to seek medical attention.


Thyroid cancer is a condition that occurs when abnormal cells develop in the thyroid. The specific cause of the condition isn't completely understood, but experts believe the condition may be linked to certain genetic and risk factors such as low levels of iodine in the body, gender and radiation treatments. Thyroid cancer may not cause symptoms in its early stages, however, as the condition progresses, it can cause a variety of symptoms that may be confused for other common illnesses and conditions. Prompt detection of potential thyroid cancer symptoms can allow for immediate treatment of the condition, and in many cases, full recovery.

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